Regarding Benghazi…

— This article by Jerry Cates, first published on 2 November 2012, was last revised on 28 April 2014. © Govinthenews Vol. 3:11(01).


In 1872 Lewis Carroll published his book “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.” Buried in that book was an intriguing poem entitled “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” The lesson taught by this poem was, as one would expect from Mr. Carroll, both simple and complex. A walrus and a carpenter walked along a beach in the midst of a series of perplexing contradictions. To begin with, though the middle of the night, a brightly shining sun upstaged — and highly irritated — the moon. There were no clouds or birds. Only a huge expanse of sand, so huge as to be impossible to deal with sensibly.

Ah, but there were oysters. A multitude, in fact. And the Walrus and the Carpenter invited them to come along as they continued their walk. The eldest oyster declined the honor, but the younger ones put on their finest clothes, shined their shoes, and hurried — despite having no feet — to keep up. Then… well, read the poem for yourself:

The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll (1872):

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

This poem has enjoyed a long and fruitful life, having been applied through the years to a variety of real-life situations. If you see how it relates to the recent events (11 September 2012) in the Libyan city of Benghazi, where — on that day in the course of a preplanned act of terrorism — four of America’s heroic sons were murdered by a well-armed band of organized Muslim extremists, you need no further explanation from me. If you fail to see that connection, any further elucidation on my part will doubtless be a wasted effort.

Let us keep in Memoriam:

John Christopher Stevens (April 18, 1960 – September 11, 2012): American Ambassador to Libya, the victim of America’s failure to provide the requisite security measures for his post.

Sean Smith (c. 1978 – September 11, 2011): Information Officer, U.S. Embassy Staff, the victim of America’s failure to provide the requisite security measures for his post.

Glen Anthony Doherty (c. 1970 – September 11, 2012): U.S. Embassy Security, former U.S. Navy Seal who, despite being outnumbered, and in defiance of orders from headquarters, did all he could to save lives at the U.S. Consulate, and later died in the service of a grateful nation.

Tyrone Snowden Woods (January 15, 1971 – September 12, 2012): U.S. Embassy Security, former U.S. Navy Seal who, despite being outnumbered, and in defiance of orders from headquarters, did all he could to save lives at the U.S. Consulate, and later died in the service of a grateful nation.

It is my personal belief that the two embassy security personnel who died that day are due the highest honor that our nation can possibly bestow upon them. Yet, the most honorable thing that should have been done would have been to provide them with the security measures they and the embassy staff requested. That was not done, and our highest ranking officials have refused to explain to the American people why.

I am not alone in my outrage, but be assured, I am most definitely outraged. Perhaps in this state I should refrain from commenting further. Unwisely, perhaps, I shall not refrain. The truth must be spoken, and there are times when it should be spoken plainly and without varnish. This, I believe, is one of those times.

To those at the highest levels of American government, along with their apologists, all of whom individually and in concert failed these men and shamed our nation, I presently hold my tongue, not because I have nothing to say but because I suspect my words would be wasted. Those who most need to be admonished are the least likely to understand, much less heed, the words of bitter condemnation my heart would like to spew upon them. I only pray they will be made to pay for their misdeeds.

Stupid isn’t like diamonds. It isn’t forever. But sometimes it seems a lot like it is…


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